Tennis on CBS

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Tennis on CBS
Created by CBS Sports
Directed by Bob Fishman and Jim Cornell
Starring See list of commentators
Opening theme "Center Court" by
E.S. Posthumus[1]
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes N/A
Executive producer(s) Harold Bryant[2]
Producer(s) Bob Mansbach and David Winner
Running time 180 minutes or until tournament ends
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original run 1968 – 2014
Related shows CBS Sports Spectacular
External links

Tennis on CBS was a television program produced by CBS Sports that broadcast the U.S. Open, the U.S. Open Series and the Sony Ericsson Open. From 1980-1982, CBS also televised the French Open[3] (sandwiched in-between stints at NBC).

US Open coverage[edit]

CBS Sports broadcast the first US Open Tennis Championships in 1968.[4] Bud Collins called the action alongside Jack Kramer. In 1982, CBS debuted Super Saturday. The Men's Semifinals sandwiched the Women's Final, with the first semifinal match starting at 11:00AM.

All the courts used by the US Open are lighted, meaning that television coverage of the tournament can extend into prime time to attract higher ratings. This has recently been used to the advantage of the USA Network on cable and especially for CBS, which used its influence to move the women's singles final to Saturday night to draw better television ratings. In 2010, CBS broadcast the US Open in 3D on DirecTV N3D.

CBS was the first network to use the MacCam (a system of slow-motion cameras developed by FastCAM Replay LLC and DEL Imaging Systems LLC used during tennis matches to replay close or controversial line calls) widely, as John McEnroe was one of their tennis analysts. The MacCam was first used at the 2004 US Open to demonstrate several poor calls by chair umpires. In Serena Williams' controversial quarterfinal loss to Jennifer Capriati, several poor calls were contested by Williams. Television replays demonstrated that there were actually several crucial calls that were obviously erroneous. Though the calls themselves were not reversed, the chair umpire Mariana Alves was dismissed from the tournament.

For the past few decades, the National Football League has always let CBS be the "singleheader" network during the week it televises the Men's US Open Tennis final at 4:05 p.m. ET around the country (CBS has said that it cannot justify putting the Men's US Open Final on Sunday night in terms of ratings; the women's final, broadcast on a Saturday night, often outrates the men's final by a considerable margin, except when at least one American plays in the men's final).

Occasionally, The Late Late Show was split into 15- and 45-minute segments when CBS aired a daily late night highlight show for either The Masters, other PGA Tour events with rights owned by CBS, or tennis' US Open. The show then has a monologue to start, followed by sports highlights, and then the guest segments. Starting in mid-2007, however, the highlights show was aired first, followed by the full hour of The Late Late Show.

James Wall (best known for playing Mr. Baxter on Captain Kangaroo)[5] was also the stage manager for 41 consecutive years on the US Open Tennis Championships telecasts.[5]

In August 2012, CBS Sports Network began to offer additional coverage of the US Open, including classic matches, coverage of qualifying matches, a pre-game show, and coverage of third and fourth round matches not shown by CBS.[6]

Starting in 2015, ESPN will take control of the tournament and end CBS’s role[7][8] in covering it after 47 years.[9][10][11]

Effects from the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon[edit]

As a UPN affiliate, WHTV out of Central Michigan carried the CBS Sports feed of the US Open while WLNS aired the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon on Labor Day.

WCWN out of the Capital District of New York State and Western New England might take on the responsibility of airing CBS programs whenever WRGB is not able to so such as during a breaking news event. It has been known to air network coverage of the US Open Tennis. During the yearly Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, WCWN took on the responsibility of airing WRGB's local and network lineup. This arrangement continued in 2004, but due to a crop of syndication launches on Labor Day in 2005, it did not happen that year. U.S. Open Tennis did air on cable on Time Warner Cable channel 3 in the Capital District.

KASA out of Santa Fe, New Mexico may air programming as an alternate CBS affiliate when KRQE is airing non-CBS programming. For example, annually KASA aired CBS network coverage of the US Open tennis tournament, while KRQE is airing the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.

In its first few years as a MyNetworkTV affiliate, WNEM-DT2 in the Flint/Tri-Cities region regularly aired network programs that were not cleared by its parent station on a regular basis. This included the U.S. Open on Labor Day during WNEM's final years airing the MDA Telethon. It was not until 2011 that all CBS affiliates that had aired the MDA Telethon, including WNEM, began airing the U.S. Open on Labor Day, owing to the reduction of hours of the telethon and its rebranding as the MDA Show of Strength.

Arthur Ashe Kids' Day[edit]

Arthur Ashe Kids' Day is an annual tennis/children’s event that takes place the last Saturday in August at the United States Tennis Association at Arthur Ashe Stadium. (USTA) Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York. It is sponsored by the Hess Corporation, IBM, and USTA. This event also begins the US Open, which officially starts two days later. This event is also televised on CBS the following day.

Controversial moments[edit]

On September 11, 1987, Dan Rather walked off the set in anger just before a remote CBS Evening News broadcast from Miami, where Pope John Paul II began a rare U.S. tour, when a US Open tennis match was being broadcast into the time scheduled for the newscast. He was upset that the news was being cut into to make room for sports and discussed it with the sports department. The Steffi Graf-Lori McNeil tennis match then ended sooner than expected at 6:32 p.m., but Rather was nowhere to be found. Over 100 affiliates broadcast six minutes of dead air.[12] The next day, Rather apologized for leaving the anchor desk.

While attending the US Open tennis tournament in New York in September 1995, Jane Bronstein, who is rather large and disfigured from childhood polio and a thyroid condition, was pictured in CBS file footage from the tournament. Although the footage was never intended to be shown to the public, a few seconds of it was shown during a segment on the Late Show with David Letterman. The footage showed Mrs. Bronstein devouring a peach in a matter of seconds and then handing the peach pit to a man seated beside her with a horrified look on his face. Although the audience and Letterman's fans found the clip hilarious, Mrs. Bronstein and her attorney Harvey Rothberg were not amused and sued for damages in February 1996.[13] The case was settled in March 1997 for undisclosed terms.[14]

On September 14, 2009, Juan Martín del Potro upset Roger Federer to win the Men's US Open Championship. Dick Enberg hosted the post-match ceremony during which a victorious Del Potro requested to address his fans in Spanish. Enberg declined the request saying that he was running out of time but went on to list the corporate sponsored prizes Del Potro won.[15] A couple of minutes later, Del Potro made the same request again and only then Enberg relented saying "Very quickly, in Spanish, he wants to say hello to his friends here and in Argentina". An emotional Del Potro finally spoke a few sentences in Spanish to a cheering crowd. Many viewers expressed disappointment with Enberg and broadcaster CBS over the interview.[15] A CBS executive later defended Enberg, noting that the contract with the United States Tennis Association required that certain sponsors receive time during the ceremony.[16]






  1. ^ "Center Court" by E.S. Posthumus on YouTube
  2. ^ CBS US Open Final Montage on YouTube
  3. ^ Fang, Ken (23 May 2013). "NBC Begins Coverage of The 2013 French Open This Sunday". Fang's Bites. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Fang, Ken (1 September 2014). "The Top Five Moments of the U.S. Open on CBS". Awful Announcing. 
  5. ^ a b James E. Wall at Honorary Unsubscribe
  6. ^ "CBS Sports Network Augments Lineup with U.S. Open Tennis, PGA Championship Coverage". Multichannel News. 
  7. ^ "ESPN Will Replace CBS As The Home For The U.S. Open Finals. Thank God.". Deadspin. 
  8. ^ Sandomir, Richard (3 September 2014). "After Decades on CBS, U.S. Open Will Switch Channels Full Time". New York Times. 
  9. ^ "ESPN to Gain Full Rights to U.S. Open in 2015". NY Times. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Reynolds, Mike (24 August 2014). "CBS Serves Up U.S. Open Farewell". Multichannel News. 
  11. ^ Fang, Ken (11 September 2014). "Without big names, U.S. Open men’s final draws lowest overnight ratings in 20 years". Awful Announcing. 
  12. ^ Boyer, Peter J. (1987-09-13). "Rather Walked Off Set of CBS News". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Court TV Library
  14. ^ Letterman Settles with Peach Lady
  15. ^ a b "Can I Speak in Spanish?". Straight Sets. The New York Times. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  16. ^ Zinser, Lynn (2009-09-15). "CBS Defends Enberg in Trophy Ceremony Backlash". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-18.